If I Could Be Upon the Shore (Explicit)
Να ’μουν νύχτα στο γιαλό
If I could be, if I could be, could be upon the shore at night
to light a lamp, to light a lamp, to light a lamp so I might see.
Good auntie Nikolákena, don’t you go gath’ring vegetables.
Where are they kindling bonfires now for little girls to overleap?
There was a host of folks assembled in the archdeacon’s close;
a marriage service was afoot, a man was being wedded there.
Translated by John Leatham
Να 'μουν νύχτα στο γιαλό
Να ’μουν νύ- μωρέ, να ’μουν νύ- να ’μουν νύχτα στο γιαλό,
ν’ ανάψω λύ- μωρέ, ν’ ανάψω λύ- ν’ ανάψω λύχνο για να ιδώ.
Θεια μου Νικολάκαινα,
να μην πας για λάχανα.
Πού τσ’ ανάβουν τσι φωτιές
και πηδάνε οι μικρές;
Στου αρχιδιάκου την αυλή
The allusions and word-plays in this song cannot be rendered into English. The incoherence and lack of meaning here are not fortuitous. The words are broken down into sounds and linked to one another not by virtue of their significance but through a relationship based solely on the weight of their acoustic value. The song functions almost like an incantation, in other words, like a magic spell, unclear and obscure, which is spoken to serve a specific purpose –in this case, to promote fertility– and furthermore to create the necessary sexual atmosphere simply through the utterance of sex-related words. Miranda Terzopoulou (1994)
Live recording in the taverna 'To Monastiri', in Athens, in 1993.
Watch a different version of the song. Live recording from the concert Carnival Songs with Domna Samiou at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, at 4/3/2003.